MSD Manual

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Common Causes of Peritonitis

Common Causes of Peritonitis




Traumatic reticuloperitonitis; rumenitis; abomasal ulcer (perforation); abomasal volvulus; cecal torsion; ulcerative colitis and proctitis (rare); dystocia (uterine torsion, cesarean section); metritis or pyometra; abdominal surgery; intestinal, rectal, or uterine rupture; liver or abdominal abscess rupture; omphalitis (calves); fat necrosis/pancreatitis; neoplasia (eg, mesothelioma, ileal adenocarcinoma); iatrogenic (eg, rectal perforation, liver biopsy, intraperitoneal injection, rumenocentesis); green algae infection (rare); Setaria infection (rare)


Parasitic (larval) migration; intestinal injury and ischemia (colic); abdominal abscess rupture (Rhodococcus, Streptococcus); abdominal surgery (colic surgery, castration); gastric, intestinal, or uterine rupture; gastroduodenoenteritis, colitis; omphalitis, persistent urachus, or bladder rupture (foals); gastric ulcer (perforation); fat necrosis/pancreatitis; neoplasia (eg, cholangiocellular carcinoma); penetrating trauma to abdominal wall; iatrogenic (rectal perforation, intraperitoneal injection), idiopathic

Small ruminants

Primary peritonitis (Mycoplasma spp); parasitic (larval) migration (eg, liver fluke, lungworm, Setaria sp); traumatic reticuloperitonitis (less common than in cattle); abdominal abscess rupture; neoplasia (eg, mesothelioma, cholangiocellular carcinoma); iatrogenic (eg, liver biopsy, intraperitoneal injection)

New World camelids

Sequela of parasitic migration/acute hepatitis (dicrocoeliosis of special importance); perforating third-compartment or duodenal ulcers; sequela of urolithiasis/ruptured urinary bladder; traumatic reticuloperitonitis (rare)


Glässer disease (Haemophilus parasuis); intestinal (ileal) perforation; dystocia; sequela of septicemic infections (Salmonella Choleraesuis, Streptococcus suis); polyserositis (Mycoplasma hyorhinis)

Dogs and cats

Feline infectious peritonitis; ingested intestinal foreign bodies; gastric, intestinal, rectal, bladder, or uterine rupture; abdominal or intestinal surgery; gastric and duodenal ulcers/perforation; abdominal neoplasia (eg, mesothelioma); hepatitis, gallbladder diseases or rupture; pancreatitis or fat necrosis; gastric dilatation volvulus (dog); penetrating trauma to abdominal wall; Candida albicans (rare); Neospora caninum (rare)